Of my discoveries this year, Napalm Records and its dynamic roster of symphonic metal bands remains a solid favorite six months into 2014. My introduction to the label's lineup, Delain's The Human Contradiction, caught me by complete surprise and likely won't be topped until 2015, but that doesn't mean there aren't other treasures to be found. In fact, while surfing YouTube last week, I happened upon Amberian Dawn's "Magic Forest"--the title track from their upcoming record--and find myself looking forward to hearing more from them with each passing day.
What I enjoyed most about "Magic Forest's" video is the film-esque feel it has to it: the cutscenes are well thought out and serve a purpose other than filling screen time when the band isn't shown. The story, portraying a villainous figure in pursuit of a mystical necklace, covers the cinematic gamut, from loss to adventure to discovery to resolution, which is also something I can appreciate, despite not being a big movie watcher. Simply put, I'd say it's a refreshing change and bucks a rather long trend of boring, soulless videos, including the lazy, and dreaded, lyric video.
Realize, though, that the video is only part of it. Without a solid base--the music--the end product will undoubtedly fall short and come off as a half-baked effort, which is like a nail in the coffin for any band. Music comes first and, by utilizing a vast array of symphonic/operatic elements, neoclassical guitar soloing, and a great vocalist, a select few can come out on top, as Amberian Dawn shows.
In the end, I'm highly anticipating Magic Forest and can't wait to immerse myself in an endless amount of fantasy-themed lyrics and slick musicianship. If it's as good as the title track suggests, we're in for a real treat.